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James Barber House

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1904, Harry Wild Jones. 132 Marston Ave.

By the early twentieth century, Eau Claire’s lumber boom had passed, but James Barber, president of the Northwestern Lumber Company, remained prosperous by adapting to changing circumstances. When timber supplies dwindled in the 1890s, Barber converted his company’s logging railway into a passenger line, sold cutover land to farmers, and invested in box-making and other wood products enterprises. These actions kept Northwestern afloat, and Barber remained one of Eau Claire’s wealthiest men. Jones of Minneapolis designed this fashionable Tudor Revival house, which occupies a one-acre lot. The house has a brick first story, stucco and half-timbering on the second story, and paneled chimneys. The complex, steeply pitched roof has three front-facing gables. The smallest is a dormer lighting an attic ballroom, the largest crowns a bedroom and library wing, and the third shelters the front entrance with its leaded-glass transom and sidelights. All three gables bear heavy pendants and bargeboards, and those of the entrance porch, carved with a leaf-and-fruit motif, are especially beautiful. A one-and-a-half-story wing links the house to a breezeway and an imposing front-gabled carriage house. The house’s finely crafted interior befitted someone of Barber’s wealth and status. Opulent finishes include oak wainscoting in the foyer and living room, Tiffany lamps in the oval dining room, and an Italian marble fireplace in the library.

Writing Credits

Author: 
Marsha Weisiger et al.
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Citation

Marsha Weisiger et al., "James Barber House", [Eau Claire, Wisconsin], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—, http://sah-archipedia.org/buildings/WI-01-EC5.

Print Source

Buildings of Wisconsin

Buildings of Wisconsin, Marsha Weisiger and contributors. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2017, 371-372.

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